Bill Gates makes $100 million personal investment to fight Alzheimer's

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Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has set his sights on solving a new problem: Alzheimer's disease.

The investment comes personally from Gates, not through his charity organization, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Reuters reports.

The Microsoft co-founder said Monday that the donation to the Dementia Discovery Fund is personal and not through his charitable foundation. Today more people survive cancer than die from it and with sufficient investment in dementia research we know the same tremendous progress will be possible for people and families affected by dementia too. Current drugs can do no more than ease some of the symptoms.

While Gates understands that potential treatments may still be a decade or more away, he is optimistic that major breakthroughs can happen if progress is made within the five identified pathways. "So it's very hard to hazard a guess (when an effective drug might be developed)". This fund will be followed up with additional $50 million, which will be doled out for start-up projects working on research study of Alzheimer's disease. "I know how bad it is to watch people you love struggle as the disease robs them of their mental capacity", he said.

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According to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, 33,000 people in Nebraska have Alzheimer's or a related dementia disease. "It feels a lot like you're experiencing a gradual death of the person that you knew".

In a statement, Gates says men in his family have suffered from Alzheimer's.

As people continue to live longer, Gates says on his blog, the more at risk they are for developing diseases like Parkinson's or arthritis.

In addition to boosting research into the underlying causes of the disease, Gates identifies four other priority areas that need attention, including improving dementia diagnosis and participation in clinical trials, bringing new ideas and theories into the field, and using the power of big data to speed up research progress.

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